Summer task list

Whether you are a 4 year scholarship winner, or a freshman that just found out that Army ROTC is a thing if you plan to enroll in Army ROTC there are a few things you will need or should be doing over the summer (especially if you plan to join the Golden Knight Battalion).  In this post I’ll try to break it down for you all.  I’ll tell you what will be expected from a scholarship winner, and what will be expected from a student just planning to enroll and give it a try.  Keep in mind the program you plan to join may do business a little different, but the basic requirements will be the same.  You will still need to eventually become medically qualified, pass you PT test, and do some paperwork.

Medical Qualification

If you are a scholarship winner you will have been directed to start your DODMERB.  Remember that sooner is better.  You may go to the doc and the doc may tell you that everything looks good.  That doesn’t mean you are qualified.  I won’t go into too much detail regarding the DODMERB process here.  I’ve written about it before.  Just know that you need to schedule your appointments ASAP, need to be prepared to explain any issues you think may be a concern to the Army, and be prepared to react quickly if DODMERB asks for more information or additional appointments.

If you are not coming in on scholarship we will schedule you for your DODMERB once you are enrolled and showing the potential. I usually schedule the non scholarship Cadets who attend the scholarship board each semester. My SMP Cadets can provide me with their MEPS physical which we can use to get a DODMERB qualification.

Physical Fitness

If you are a 4 year scholarship winner you will have to pass your Army Physical Fitness Test before you can be contracted and start your scholarship.  Some schools will give that test to you once school starts.  At Clarkson I use the summer to give you a chance to pass the test.  We offer the test a number of times in various locations around New York.  Pass the test and you will contract on day 1, fail the test and we will allow you to come to Potsdam to try again before school starts.  You’ll also be tested in the morning on contracting day if you haven’t passed by then.  Fail that one and you won’t be signing your contract on day one.
pushups 2018
If you are non scholarship you will take the PT test at least twice a semester.  If we think you deserve to contract or be offered a campus based scholarship part of that decision will be based on you consistently passing your APFT.

Once again, sooner is better.  Starting yesterday to establish a fitness regime and being prepared to meet the fitness standards is essential.  There is nothing more disheartening than driving a couple hours to give 3 scholarship winners their first PT test and watching all three fail miserably.  I owe you all a more detailed blog post on recommendations to prepare for the test.  The short answer is do pushups, situps and run just about every day to prepare.

Paperwork

If you are joining the program there are a couple forms we will require to enroll you in the program.  These forms give us the necessary information to enter you into the Cadet Command Information Management Module (CCIMM) which is the system we use to manage Cadets and applicants.  Along with the enrollment form we will ask you to release medical information and academic information to us in the future.  There will also be a form that notifies you of your rights if you are hurt while training as a Cadet.

If you are a scholarship winner, along with the standard enrollment paperwork,  we are going to ask for a lot more paperwork. We’ll need a direct deposit form to know where to send the money, and there will be forms for tax, insurance, and security clearance purposes.  Scholarship winners will also fill out an enlistment form, and sign a contract.

Programs may have different procedures for filling out the forms.  In our case we have a couple websites where you can access the forms.  If you are just enrolling then we are going to ask you to bring the forms with you to our orientation,  If you are a scholarship winner we’ll have you mail all your forms, so they can be ready to be signed on contracting day.

That’s it

Again, some programs might ask you to buy certain gear, or suggest you buy and break in boots. Some programs might give you workout plans, or have weeks long orientations. If you are going to be a member of the Golden Knight Battalion we want you to show up in reasonable physical shape with the required paperwork, ready to start down the road to becoming an Army leader.  No need to go ninja or start studying Clausewitz or training for marathons.

 

 

 

Board Dates 2018-2019 scholarship boards

Here they are, the dates for this fall/winter’s board dates. If you are applying for a four year high school Army ROTC scholarship that will start in the fall of 2019, that would be a high school senior in the fall of 2018, graduating in the spring of 2019, these are the dates you should pay attention to.

4-year High School Application Opens for SY 18-19 12-Jun-18
1st High School Selection Board Deadline for Documents 1-Oct-18
1st High School Selection Board 15-Oct-18
2nd High School Selection Board Deadline for Documents 1-Jan-19
2nd High School Selection Board 7-Jan-19
4-Year High School Application Deadline for SY 18-19 4-Feb-19
Final HS Selection Board Deadline for Docs — Missing Items 1-Mar-19
Final (3rd) High School Selection Board  18-Mar-19

Same advice as last year…You should complete your application before the board that makes you the most competitive.  I would recommend you try to get in on one of the first two boards.  Waiting till the deadline and being seen by just one board is rarely the best course of action.  If you have a strong file you should be shooting to have your file complete by 1 October and reviewed by the first board.

Look at SAT/ACT dates. If you don’t do so well the first time you can take those tests again. Your second shot is usually some time shortly after the October board, so you should be shooting for the second board and submitting improved scores if your file isn’t strong. Here’s where you can get some free help with those tests, use it.

If you wait until the second or third board your chances are diminished because there will obviously be less allocations available after each board but don’t rush to be on the first board if you aren’t ready.  I would tell you that you shouldn’t wait to be able to do one or two more push ups on the PFT, but if your SAT/ACT is low retake and wait for the next board.

As you go through the process make sure you read about all the components (this blog is a good source of information, if I do say so myself) and stay in touch with at least one of the recruiting officers at one of the schools on your list. Notice I said recruiting Officer, and not recruiter…there is still a difference.

How to accept/transfer an Army ROTC scholarship

So I’ve been watching the discussion board churn over the last couple days.  The results of the last board were released and everybody is asking how to accept their offer, and how to transfer their offer. I see a lot of sketchy, misinformed advice being given.  When I see that it usually prompts me to think blog post. Lately, before I write anything I check the Additional information tab on the application website.  Cadet Command has done a fantastic job making that the go to place for good information.  Unfortunately for some reason most applicants (and their parents) haven’t figured out how to open that link and read the information.  Being the lazy blogger I am, I’ve pulled that information out from behind the curtain.  Here’s what the Additional Information tab has to say:

Accepting the Scholarship

Those applicants selected for an Army ROTC scholarship have tasks that must be completed in order to accept their scholarship. Please understand, the act of accepting your scholarship does not obligate you to join the ROTC program, it does not commit you to military service and it does not commit the US Army to pay the scholarship. The act of accepting your scholarship merely reserves you a place should you become fully qualified and choose to contract. This creates different decision points where you will be able to choose among options or change your mind.

After you are done with this section, please see the sections on Payment of Benefits and Becoming Fully Qualified.

  1. Once you have been notified and receive you scholarship offer letter, you will have to make your first decision. The scholarship offer letter will tell you what type of scholarship you have been selected for and to which schools the offer(s) have been made.
  1. Based on when you receive you scholarship offer, you will have other decisions to make:

– Scholarship Offers made in October/November. Cadet Command understands that most schools haven’t released even their early admissions decisions at this point. Select the school you would most like to attend where you received an offer. Do not wait to find out if you’ve been admitted before you accept your scholarship because Cadet Command will likely withdraw the scholarship offer and there is no guarantee it will be reinstated. If you later receive a negative admissions decisions to the school you selected, you can request to transfer your scholarship to a school where you have been accepted. The step for requesting a transfer are below.

– Scholarship Offers made in January/February. Many schools have released early decisions but regular round admission decisions haven’t been made for most. The intent is the same for offers made in October/November above. Select the school you would most like to attend where you received an offer. Don’t let the deadline pass waiting to see if you were accepted. Reserve your scholarship and request a transfer if necessary.

– Scholarship offers made in March/April. Most schools have released their regular round admissions decisions during this time of year with April 1st being the date for many. You should have a pretty good idea what your options for where you can go to college next year. You must still return your acceptance paperwork.

  1. Based on what school you received your scholarship offer, you will have other decisions to make:

– I got an offer to my primary school. This is easy, accept the scholarship to that school.

– I didn’t get an offer to the school where I’m going. You must still select one of the schools on your offer letter because this reserves the scholarship. You can still request to transfer your scholarship to that school. That doesn’t mean you write in the school you want to attend and send that back. See the instructions for requesting to transfer your scholarship below.

– I’ve not been accepted to that school yet. Based on the admissions decisions of a particular school, you may not know if you’ve been accepted yet – that’s OK. If it’s your first choice or the only offer you received, accept the scholarship to that school. If you later receive a negative admissions decisions to the school you selected, you can request to transfer your scholarship to a school where you have been accepted.

– I didn’t get into that school. If it’s the only school where you received an offer, accept the scholarship to that school and request a transfer.

– I didn’t apply to that school. As discussed in the instructions for picking schools, it is your responsibility to apply to all of the schools you list in the application. That being said, you obviously cannot use the scholarship at a school you’ve not applied to or been accepted to. You will need to request a transfer. The step for requesting a transfer are below.

– I was wait-listed for that school. You have a couple of options. If that is the school you are most interested in attending, accept the scholarship there and wait for your admissions decision. If you get in, no further action is required. If you don’t get in, request to transfer.

– National Decision Day. May 1 is known to some as National College Decision Day, as it is often the deadline for students to make deposits to attend the college of their choice. Cadet Command will make every effort to ensure transfer decisions and scholarship offers have been made by this date. It is still your responsibility to do whatever is required by the college/university to reserve you place at that school.

  1. The letter you receive likely indicated you are not considered medically or administratively qualified yet. Please see the section on DoDMERB Medical Examinations and Becoming Fully Qualified. They will better explain what that means and what the next steps include.

Here’s the information regarding a transfer.  Read carefully, because it says exactly what I have always said.  File upload is your best bet.  Accept one of your offers, write a statement regarding why you want to transfer, and include your letter of acceptance to the school you want to transfer to. Scan and upload.

Requesting to transfer your scholarship

Please understand, while Cadet Command always tries to accommodate where you want to go to school and what you want to study, there is no guarantee your transfer will be approved.

  1. There are many reasons why a transfer may not be approved

– There are a finite number of allocations at each host program. When that program fills up, your transfer will likely be disapproved. The number of allocations by program can change from year-to-year and are based on many factors which may include: classroom size can only accommodates a certain number; mission requirements at that program; and the number of Cadre at that program. Typically, larger universities have more allocations but that’s not always true. Contact the host program Cadre for more information.

– The combination of college major and school aren’t always conducive to the ROTC training requirements. Contact the host program Cadre for more information but this usually only applies to nurses.

– Just because an ROTC Cadre member at a college says the transfer should be approved, doesn’t always mean it will. This also does not guarantee the transfer will be approved.

  1. To request a transfer, you must first accept your scholarship to one of the schools where you were originally offered. If you have already done that, submit the following documentation:

– Brief statement indicating why you want to transfer. There is not set format but please make it legible and do not write it directly on your scholarship acceptance form.

– Copy of your university acceptance letter.

– You can submit a request to transfer at the same time you accept your scholarship. Submit both sets of documents at the same time.

  1. Cadet Command accepts paperwork the same for pretty much any document you may need to send us. Pick one of them; NOT all of them. The most preferred and fastest are listed in order below:

– Upload the files individually to your File Upload tab of the application.  This is by far the fastest and easiest. If you don’t have easy access to a scanner, you can always take a picture of the form with a smart phone and upload that. Just make sure you can read it.

– Email the file to your processor directly or use the central email address. USARMY.KNOX.USACC.MBX.TRAIN2LEAD@MAIL.MIL   From there, your processor will upload the document to your File Upload tab just like how you do the same thing.

– US Postal Service or one of the commercial vendors are the least preferred because they are the slowest and require additional handling. Plus, there’s no sense in spending money when you don’t have to. From there, your processor will scan the document and then upload it to your File Upload tab.

– Only using the first method is there a reliable manner to track if Cadet Command has processed your paperwork from start to finish.

– When you upload your acceptance paperwork to the File Upload tab, the document type is “Letter of Intent and Acknowledgement.”

Have you processed my paperwork?

Once you have been awarded an Army ROTC scholarship, the most important tab in your application becomes the Selection Status tab. It can answer whether or not we have received and processed your paperwork. Here’s how:

Scholarship Acceptance

– When you submit you acceptance paperwork using the File Upload tab, there will be a yellow flag next to the Name of Document (the type of document not the actual name you gave it) and the status will indicate “Pending” in the Approved column. Once we have received your document, the status will change to “Approved.” This doesn’t mean the action you requested was approved, it only indicates the document was received, it is legible, and we understand your intent for submitting the document.

– To see if it has been processed and approved, go to the Selection Status tab. When you received your initial scholarship offer, the Selection Status tab indicated which school(s), what type of scholarship, and the acceptance status. Your scholarship status will remain as “Pending Acceptance” until Cadet Command receives and processes your acceptance paperwork. Once Cadet Command has received and processed your acceptance paperwork, the status of your selected offer will change from “Pending Acceptance” to “Offer Accepted.”  Any other school(s) you were offered will be removed from the page.

Transfer Requests

– Submit your paperwork as discussed above. The File Upload tab is the most expedient method. The approved status you see next to the document type does not indicate the request to transfer was approved, only the document was received and we are working your request.

– The Selection Status indicate the originally accepted school until we have processed and approved the transfer. Once approved, theSelection Status tab will indicate your offer has been accepted to the new school. The old school will disappear from the list.

– Some requests take longer to process depending on where you are requesting to transfer.

Hope that helps.  The sooner you make up your mind and take action, the sooner Cadet Command can make their decision and you can start planning for the Fall semester.

 

Congrats on getting that scholarship offer!!

 

CULP Trip – 2017 – Tanzania – Cadet Settineri

I thought I’d finish out the week with another CULP post.  We had two Cadets journey to Tanzania this Summer.  Here is the second report from the African country.

It all started at Fort Knox, the place of all beginnings I suppose. There I became acquainted with the team I would be working with for the next three weeks, and we were briefed for three days about the country we were going to. On July 17th we left for Tanzania with nine cadets, and on August 7th we came back to Louisville Kentucky with nine cadets (although there were a few slight illnesses along the way).

Jitegemee Students

Jitegemee Students pose for a picture with me after an instruction period

The purpose of our mission was to interact with the people of Tanzania and to build rapport with them. We wanted to give them a feel of what America was like, how our culture worked, and to answer any questions they had. We were there to teach, but also to learn as much as we could from them, and their culture.

My team had nine people on it and we all worked together to succeed in our goal. Our main area of work was at a secondary school in one of the biggest cities in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam was an absolutely massive establishment with over five million people in it. While the population may have been indicative of a massive city, it was more sprawling than anything with only a few tall buildings that could not have even been called skyscrapers.

The city was bustling all of the time. Since there is no penalty against soliciting on the side of the roads, there was always someone trying to sell something. Roadside salesman sold things as simple as oranges and newspapers, to computers and cellphones. Bumpy, and in some places gaping, roads were surrounded by dusty footpaths which were heavily traversed by the average man who would rather waive the bus fee or a take a bike to work (which in some cases might be faster). While the government may have bypassed attention to the road system they had a large public transportation system that was composed mainly of buses, which often packed the road.

The trip to Jitegemee Secondary school in the morning was about ten miles, but could take anywhere from an hour, to an hour and a half to get there. Traffic was bad, but it was a great time to gaze out the window and take everything in. Jitegemee is one of the best schools in the nation and has about 2000 students, all of which are highly challenged, and very intelligent. The school is mainly for families of the military, so military life was integrated into the school life.

my favorite teacher Mr. Yanga

On our last day at the school, I got to have a picture taken with my favorite teacher Mr. Yanga. We had many discussions about the world during our daily 10:30 tea time.

About 50% of the teachers were former or current military members. The headmaster was a captain in the Tanzanian Peoples Defense Force, and there were about 100 cadets running about the school keeping order. The school was similar to an American high school. Many of the students boarded at the school, and the ones I talked to liked it, they had a sense of order and discipline in their lives. The grade setup is also different. There are O level and A level courses, each with different forms or grades. O level (ordinary level) was constituted of forms 1-4, and A level (advanced level) courses were offered in forms 4-6. Students ranged anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five years of age.

We were not told much about what we were doing at the school and the first day we were given a classroom full of kids, and instructed to teach them. Split into groups of three cadets, the task was not as daunting as it could have been but it was still difficult. The students did speak English, but it was limited in forms 1-4, so we had to break a culture and language barrier in order to teach them. Many icebreakers, jokes, and us dancing or singing usually did the trick to ease students. Once the students were warmed up they began to ask questions about America that they were curious about.

The most common questions were: “Will I get shot in America since I am black?”, “What are the differences between Tanzania and America that you see?”, “Do you have a wife?”, “How can I get to America?” and “Are you afraid of North Korea?”. It seemed once I answered one question, ten more would pop up. Of course we had questions for them too which they were equally excited to answer. I became quick friends with many of the students and this continued for the three weeks we worked at the school.

Mikumi National park

Lt. Rausch, our team leader, waves from the land cruiser. On one of our weekend trips we went to Mikumi National park. The early morning sunrise is depicted here

Our main place of work was at the school, but we took a few excursions to see the country. Our biggest one was a trip to Mikumi National Park. We drove all over the national park and saw many types of animals. A nine-hour drive to go the 200 miles to Mikumi really demonstrated the weak infrastructure and poor roads of the country. In addition to the big weekend trip, we also took afternoon trips nearly every day after we were done teaching to learn more about the city. These afternoon trips included visits to the University of Dar es Salaam, various markets, talking to native tribesmen, and various cultural presentations.

ten to seventy students

Classes ranged anywhere from ten to seventy students. I got one of the bigger classes this day

While we were not fully immersed into the Tanzanian culture, we experienced a lot of it over the twenty-two days we were in country. I learned the most about the Tanzanian education system, how it works, the quality of its students, and the style in which they are taught. I learned to challenge my assumptions, and ditch the stereotypes I came into the country with. Lastly I will never forget the kindness of the Tanzanian people, and their welcoming nature.

Great rundown of a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Always love hearing about the adventures our Cadets have on their CULP trips.

Change to deadlines

Just a quick blog post today.  Due to the unsettled weather in the south (huricanes) the deadline for submission for the first board has changed and the board date was pushed back.  I have updated my previous post about this years dates and I am sharing the info right off the application website.

To apply for the ROTC Scholarship, an application must be started by 04 February 2018 @ 1159pm EST.

If you have started an application by 04 February 2018, you have until 04 March 2018 @ 1159pm EST to complete your application.

To appear before a Selection Board to be considered for a scholarship, applicants must submit a completed
application, including the PMS interview, by 1159pm EST on one of the below “Document Submission Deadlines.”

Document Submission Deadlines

1st High School Board:
1 October 2017

2nd High School Board:
07 January 2018

3rd High School Board:
04 March 2018

Selection Board Convene Dates

1st High School Board:
16-20 October 2017

2nd High School Board:
22-26 January 2018

3rd High School Board:
19-23 March 2018

NOTE: Applicants who were previously boarded but not selected to receive a scholarship, can continue to submit documents to increase their chance for selection.
However, all application updates must be SUBMITTED no later than 04 March 2018@ 1159pm EST to be considered for a scholarship during the final board that convenes on 19-23 March 2018.

You have a little breathing room, but trust me…these deadlines sneak up on you and if you are like most applicants you lead a busy life.

 

CULP Trip – 2017 – Nepal – Cadet Williams

This is the trip report I was really looking forward to.  Nepal is on my life list and I was really interested to hear how things went for him.  Was glad to get lots of pictures and a video to round out his trip report.

IMG_3579            This summer I spent three weeks in Nepal as part of the ROTC Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program. For those who don’t know, Nepal is a small landlocked country in between China and India, which means it has a lot of strategic significance. Just two years ago Nepal was devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, so I was excited and concerned to see the poorest Asian country after two years of reconstruction.

IMG_3833

We arrived in Nepal after a 20-hour flight where we stayed in the Yak and Yeti Hotel, which is a 5-star luxury hotel in downtown Kathmandu. We spent the first weekend getting acclimated to the climate, culture, and the extreme differences in driving before traveling four hours to our work site Monday morning. The first week we spent doing humanitarian work at a school in the Nuwakot district. We were responsible for moving the rubble and tearing down the remaining stone walls to help them rebuild a newer and more stable schoolroom. After a week of manual labor in the extreme humidity and heat we were ready to return to Kathmandu.

 

IMG_3551

Our next week was focused on military training where we visited a military hospital, their military academy, their ranger school, and airborne school. We received tours by our local national officer at each training site, learned aikido with the Nepal rangers and had early morning PT with their cadets. We met a few different generals and top officials from their armed national police force as well.

IMG_3779            Our last week was our culture week where we acted as tourists seeing the different temples and historical sites in Kathmandu. We saw Hindu and Buddhist temples, ancient palaces, and spent a day on an eight-mile hike. It was a great way to end our trip and experience every aspect of the Kathmandu valley. I learned so much about Nepali history and culture and met a great group of cadets and Nepali people who I will never forget. I hope to one-day return and see the parts of Nepal I did not get to experience. CULP is a great experience and I highly recommend it to anyone considering applying for it.

 

Thanks to Cadet Williams for a great report. Nepal is definitely still on my life list.

 

CULP trip – 2017 – Tanzania – Cadet Temme

Time for me to start cleaning out my inbox of all the Summer training reports.  This year we had a bunch of Cadets on CULP trips, Army internships, and other summer training.  I always love sharing these each year because it highlights the incredible things our Cadets do, and it highlights what we emphasize here at Clarkson University and the Golden Knight Battalion.

We’ll start out this year’s reports with the newly married Cadet Battalion Commander Kerri Temme, formerly known as Cadet Boyer.  Her trip demonstrates that you should always expect changes in the Army and you should never let a change get you down, because it often leads to an unexpected win.

In December 2016, I was notified that I was awarded the opportunity to embark on a Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) mission to Cambodia. I have never been to Asia before but had read a lot about the region and was ecstatic for the mission. When our mission was changed in February to Tanzania, I was not as thrilled for I had just been to Africa the summer before and thought I knew all I needed to know about their culture. However, when I started the homework and began researching Tanzania more and more, I realized that the culture and structure of Tanzania was completely different from my prior experience. For instances, instead of the nation being broken into tribes, the government combined all the tribes in Tanzania and united them under one flag and enforced one language, Swahili. I expected to work solely with their military and learn only about their military and the structure of their government. My reality was different.

temme3            Upon arriving to CULP, we learned that our mission was to teach English at a local private school, Jetegemee, for young children whose parents either served in the military or were government officials. We began to plan fun games and English lessons that would suite this age group. When we arrived, we realized that we were extremely under prepared and all of our prior assumptions had been wrong. We walked into a class of 19-20 year olds learning advanced chemistry and courses of the same difficulty who spoke proper English. We quickly had to adjust our lessons and began to compare our two cultures. Talking to students around the same age as us and comparing the United States to Tanzania was the most beneficial part of our mission to understand their culture. We compared politics, gender roles, government structures, military structures, foreign trade partners, imported good and exported goods, music, food, sports, the list goes on. We sat in on some of their classes and realized that some of their high school equivalent courses were the same as our college courses and they were taught in Swahili and English. At that point, realizing that we may not have anything we can teach them to maintain the professor’s lesson plan, we divided into groups consisting of cadets with similar majors and sat in on classes that resembled our majors to assist the professors. Toward the end of our mission, the United States Charge d’Affaires, Inmi Patterson, came to visit the school. We saw her interact with the head of education at Jetegemee and the professors and learned about her role as a representative of the United States. Jetegemee greeted her with a song and a dance, representing their culture and how they welcome others.

temme2            Outside of the classroom, we experienced the Tanzanian culture through markets, museums, food, a safari, visiting a deserted island, visiting Dar Es Salaam University, and had presentations on Ramadhan and the Massai Tribe. This is where I learned the most. We met locals and experienced their everyday life from working at their markets where they made everything inside, to learning about the library and the pride behind it at the university. We observed how people would wake up early and start selling their goods on the side of the street as traffic accumulated or how fisherman would leave on their boats at dawn and return only once they have caught enough fish for the day. We’d observe locals that have great pride in their nation and sweep the streets to keep it clean and they would describe success as a collective effort, not an individual effort.

As a leader in a time of war, we will be deploying. Experiencing a nation that is not as well off as the United States is a major culture shock and can be very difficult to adjust to. Being able to have those experiences prior to those deployments are extremely beneficial to not only the mission but to the soldiers we will lead as well. A leader in culture shock will is unable to perform his or her job to the best of their ability and will be struggling to adjust; a leader who knows and understands different cultures will easily be able to adapt to lead their troops in a diverse situation. Leaders need to be able to have empathy and the interpersonal tact to connect with leaders from foreign nations while being able to influence them. We need to be able to walk into a room full of people that may not speak the same language as us and still have a command presence; CULP gave us that opportunity to practice and experience to adapt to it. Tanzania CULP mission 2017           The Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency is by far one of the most rewarding and humbling opportunities ROTC has to offer. Being able to confidently walk into a room with fifty to sixty people of a different culture and start up a conversation is not something that I was comfortable with doing at all prior to the Tanzania mission. Toward the last week of the mission, I was extremely comfortable in doing so while greeitng them in a different language (Swahili). My first days walking around the markets or driving down the streets I was nervous and a little uneasy, but toward the end I was comfortable and it felt normal to drive to school and walk around. Having someone hold my hand after a hand shake or put their arm around me was not something I liked during the first week, but at the end I was holding hands and putting my arm around someone I was talking to. Once I understood the differences between their norms, values and culture, it was easy to embrace the Tanzanian culture and find things in common to talk about. Having not gone on a CULP mission, I would find it very hard to embrace and understand other cultures especially if I was deploying. Now that I understand how different cultures can be and how to find the common ground between two cultures, I can confidently lead my future troops into an unknown area with the experience and knowledge I collected on my CULP mission to Tanzania.